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119 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Losers' Side of the Story, 6 Feb 2004
This review is from: The Gnostic Gospels (Paperback)
The Gnostic Gospels which were discovered in Egypt in 1945 show us the variety of gospels circulated among early adherents during the first few centuries after Christ. In describing the effects of these gospels on the evolution of Christianity Elaine Pagels is able to make a complex subject seem quite understandable.
We always knew that orthodox believers frequently denounced gnostic ideas. The discovery of the gnostic texts has revealed how gnosticism defended itself and in turn attacked orthodox beliefs.
The othodox position was that the generations of Christians who lived after the time of the apostles could not possibly have the same access to Christ as the apostles did during Christ's lifetime. Therefore these later Christians would have to look to the church and its bishops for teaching and leadership. The gnostic attitude was that access to God was available to any believer and some church elders themselves may not yet have had
this same God experience. Many gnostics believed that all who had received this gnosis had transcended the authority of the church's hierarchy. People received gnosis when they came into contact with the living Christ.
The main benefit I have received from reading THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS has been a greater appreciation of the early development of Christianity. I was able to see for the first time the other side of the story - a view of a contentious debate among early Christians from the losing side.
As for the winning side, it had never occurred to me before reading Pagels' book that the structure of the Roman Catholic church was based on an organizational model of the Roman army.
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Initial post: 16 Apr 2012 19:01:29 BDT
Israilivic says:
I am looking for a book which, at least, has the 5 main gnostic gospels (english translation of course) in it, i have been directed here. Is this the book i am looking for?
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